As settlers disrupt olive harvest, Israeli officer declares: ‘I am the law, I am God.’


Intimidation of Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled H2 section of Hebron continued today as the Israeli military and settlers harassed Palestinians and international observers as they attempted to pick olives on their land in Tel Rumeida.

Around 40 students from different Palestinian universities marched onto the land at 11AM Saturday morning and began to pick olives along with local families, activists from Youth Against Settlements (YAS) and international observers.

At 12:30 PM the Israeli police confiscated identity passes for 20 Palestinians and, whilst checking their details, forced the group to stand together and individually filmed their faces.

The police declined to justify their actions, only insisting that they had a right to check the details of those present. The Israeli military became increasingly belligerent as protesters challenged the legality of the actions and began to push and shove Palestinians and international observers. After around 20 minutes the police returned the passes and allowed the detained Palestinians to leave. They then ordered international observers to leave the olive groves or be arrested, claiming that the Palestinian-owned olive grove is “Israeli land” and that it was illegal to be on the land and “illegal to be in a group.”

Rafi Dagan, an Israeli commanding officer, stated “I am the law. I am God” when asked to explain why he was flouting Israeli law by forcing people to leave Palestinian land under threat of arrest, without any paperwork to show that it was a closed military zone.

Earlier in the day, Israeli soldiers had pushed photographers attempting to document the olive harvest and confiscated an international observer’s passport for several minutes. Under Israeli law, passports may be shown to the Israeli military but it is illegal for them to be taken away. The Israeli military also briefly detained a young Palestinian man, apparently for running through the olive groves with a Palestinian flag, although he was released after around 10 minutes.

In addition to intimidation by the military, Israeli settlers arrived on the Palestinian land within minutes of the olive harvest beginning and began to harass people picking olives. A group of around 10 settlers gathered in the lower olive groves in Tel Rumeida at 11:55am where Palestinians were busy picking olives. Baruch Marzel, a prominent extremist settler, stood on a Palestinian flag in an obvious attempt to provoke olive harvesters. The military intervened as anger flared between the two groups and sent settlers back to their settlement.

Badia Dwaik, 38, is the Deputy Coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, a nonviolent Palestinian group campaigning against Israeli settlements. He stressed that olive harvesting in Tel Rumeida is not just about economic necessity; it is a form of political defiance and a way to “confirm our existence and to encourage the people to resist”.

The Palestinian land in Tel Rumeida is surrounded by four illegal Israeli settlements. A Palestinian educational centre overlooks steep, dusty terraces to the south which contain around 200 olive trees. The centre, established in 2006 after the building was reclaimed from Israeli military control, and the olive groves below have been subject to repeated attacks and incursions by settlers in recent years. Anti-Palestinian graffiti and the Star of David is clearly visible under fresh coats of paint on the walls at the back of the building, only metres away from a settlement.

The olive groves contain around 200 olives trees and olives were picked on around 70 trees today. Badia Dwaik lamented the poor quality of the olives and the sparse fruit on many of the trees, saying that Palestinians are often unable to tend the land for fear of settler attacks. There is also a chronic shortage of water in Hebron and the owners of the trees are denied permits to dig the land. For example, the YAS reported having problems with water circulation for three days and discovered today that the water lines had been deliberately cut.

According to Badia Dwaik, the YAS intend to continue picking the olives in the coming weeks as “people are scared to come and pick olives alone. And it gives a message: we will continue and never give up.”

( crossposted @ International Solidarity Movement)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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73 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    October 23, 2011, 3:13 pm

    Don’t give up, continue on.

    I’d really like to see Baruch Marzel on CNN or the networks, we should give him every opportunity to describe his beliefs…….

    I would recommend watching all four parts….

    • Ira Glunts
      October 23, 2011, 7:34 pm

      Funny, I have daydreamed about bringing Marzel in as a speaker for our local Jewish community and for Syracuse and Colgate Universities. I wonder if he would come.

      • Avi_G.
        October 24, 2011, 12:27 am

        Ira, it’s worth a try. Unless he’s the type that thinks it’s not worth bothering with ‘bleeding-heart-liberals’, he could very well be the type that enjoys the attention, likes to brag and isn’t afraid to spew his venom in public.

  2. American
    October 23, 2011, 3:31 pm

    Since as America goes, so goes Israel and it’s military “Gods” I’m throwing this news in as pertinent.


    Karzai said in an interview Afghanistan would back Pakistan in a military conflict with US, a signal of anti-American sentiment in the region
    Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in case of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview on Saturday.
    “God forbid, If ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan,” he said. ”If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan needs Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you.”
    Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently visited Islamabad and warned that Pakistan would pay a “big price” if they continued to ignore US demands, and threatened unspecified “unilateral” acts. Similarly, Senator Carl Levin on Friday urged the US to threaten to cut all ties with the Pakistani government to punish them”
    * It’s worth remembering that Karzai was the “exile in waiting” that Bush picked to install as the US stooge ruler. LOL


    Turkish jets pound Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq
    Turkish jets bombed camps belonging to the rebel separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq overnight in response to a series of attacks on Turkish military posts Wednesday that left 24 soldiers dead. AFP – Turkish air force jets bombed Kurdish rebel camps in northern Iraq overnight in response to the attacks which killed 24 soldiers in the southeast, local security sources said Thursday.
    Military activity at the air base in mainly Kurdish Diyarbakir province was very intensive throughout the night with many F-16 jets taking off to bomb the hideouts of the seperatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), they said.
    PKK attacks against military posts along the border with Iraq killed 24 people and injured 18 late Tuesday.
    According to press reports, the attacks were carried out when between 200 and 250 Kurdish rebels entrenched in the mountains of northern Iraq entered Turkish territory to carry out raids on several military posts.
    The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.”

    Third ..and Iraq responded thus.

    “The Iraqi government condemns this terrorist activity by the PKK, and expresses its sympathy for the families of the Turkish soldiers,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
    Iraq is committed to collaborate with the Turkish government on security issues to prevent a repeat of such actions.”

    The horses are out the gate, the chickens are leaving the barnyard. US losing control. Getting closer and closer to that Israel and America war against the entire ME and a good part of the rest of the world.
    Such hubris, such stupidity and no help for it in sight in the US.

  3. eljay
    October 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

    >> Rafi Dagan, an Israeli commanding officer, stated “I am the law. I am God”

    The qualifications for god-hood ain’t what they used to be!

    This article makes me ill. The only thing that disgusts me more is knowing that Zio-supremacist pukes like RW, eee and the rest of that loathsome bunch will either support, justify or simply ignore the immoral actions of the “Jewish state” and its representatives.

  4. Walid
    October 23, 2011, 4:19 pm

    Your news are just as bad as those about the olive harvest, American.

  5. seafoid
    October 23, 2011, 4:44 pm

    “Rafi Dagan, an Israeli commanding officer, stated “I am the law. I am God”

    “We ought to be beating our chests every day. We ought to be looking in a mirror and be proud and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and say “damn, we’re Americans” .

    Jay Garner, Iraq Proconsul 2003

    Fast forward to 2011 and America can’t even negotiate to keep one base in Iraq.

    “The Iraq war is over. Buried by the news from Libya, Barack Obama announced late on Friday that all US troops will leave Iraq by 31 December.

    The president put a brave face on it, claiming he was fulfilling an election promise to end the war, though he had actually been supporting the Pentagon’s effort to make a deal with Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to keep US bases and several thousand troops there indefinitely.

    The talks broke down because Moqtada al-Sadr’s members of parliament and other Iraqi nationalists insisted that US troops be subject to Iraqi law. In every country where they are based the US insists on legal immunity and refuses to let troops be tried by foreigners. In Iraq the issue is especially sensitive after numerous US murders of civilians and the Abu Ghraib scandal in which Iraqi prisoners were sexually humiliated. In almost every case where US courts tried US troops, soldiers were acquitted or received relatively brief prison sentences.

    The final troop withdrawal marks a complete defeat for Bush’s Iraq project. The neocons’ grand plan to use the 2003 invasion to turn the country into a secure pro-western democracy and a garrison for US bases that could put pressure on Syria and Iran lies in tatters.

    Hubris is fantastic and it’s coming to Judaism.

    • Taxi
      October 24, 2011, 3:14 am

      ““We ought to be beating our chests every day. We ought to be looking in a mirror and be proud and stick out our chests and suck in our bellies and say “damn, we’re Americans”. Jay Garner, Iraq Proconsul 2003

      Sure I’d LOVE to see the 40+ million obese Americans ‘suck in their bellies’.

      And regarding ANYONE who considers themselves a “god” amongst us – well history does SHOW us how fake gods come a-tumbling down sooner than later. Let the loathsome colonialists the world over – not just in occupied historic Palestine, declare their GODHOOD loud and clear for the world to hear. LOL.

  6. straightline
    October 23, 2011, 4:57 pm

    There is an interesting use of language in reporting on the PKK that I have already noted on the BBC and other MSM. Hamas personnel are “militants” but Kurdish militants are “rebels”. And of course the BBC is unbiased!

    • Avi_G.
      October 24, 2011, 12:44 am

      Good catch.

      I would also take this opportunity to add that Jewish terrorists in the colonies of the Israeli occupied West Bank are simply, “Right-Wing Extremists”. They’re — apparently — neither militants, nor terrorists and certainly not fanatics.

      Incidentally, when I found out this week that a group of Hindu girls in India were looking for adoptive parents because their biological parents had abandoned them for being females, instead of males, I couldn’t help but think about the repetitive vilification that Moslems receive concerning “Treatment of women”, “Female genital mutilation” etc. etc. Whatever helps to paint Them as primitive and backward.

      This, despite the fact that such practices are either isolated to a certain region, are the result of colonialism or have nothing to do with religion, but are a product of tradition and local customs, or in some cases are a product of over-imaginative Islamophobes.

      Watching CNN or the BBC, Western audiences come to think of Moslems as an extra-terrestrial species.

      But, lo and behold, there are plenty of religions, nationalities and races whose practices, too, would seem abnormal to the average indignant Westerner.

      Yet, just like during the Cold War, the media needs to maintain a barrage of propaganda, of demonization, in order to justify this prolonged war.

      So, in conclusion, I see the Internet as an equalizer, balancing what comes across as news in the mainstream media with a dose of reality.

  7. justicewillprevail
    October 23, 2011, 5:04 pm

    Zionist ideology in a nutshell: supremacism, overweening sense of exceptionalism and self-righteousness, covetousness, arrogance, contempt for others, especially the people whose land this actually is, and utter disregard for the law or human rights. Bang on, officer.

    • Antidote
      October 23, 2011, 10:18 pm

      How is “Zionist ideology in a nutshell” different from American ideology in a nutshell, or a great many other national ideologies? On the subject of self-righteousness, as well as the other vices cited, I recommend reading A. J. Nock’s piece on the Criminal State, published in 1939. Works just as well if you substitute the ME today for Europe/Asia just before WW II, especially from the American perspective

      • Walid
        October 24, 2011, 1:32 am

        “I am the law. I am God”

        Isn’t that an American thing with the 500 or so military bases all over the world, especially with its largest one “Israel”? Yesterday, the head of the Transitional Council of Libya that Obama and the French Zionists are proud of having helped dump Gadafi, proclaimed the Islamic Republic of Libya and the first rule he announced was that any existing laws that contravene sharia laws, especially on matters of marriage are void. Looks like fun and games ahead for the US and Europe.

      • Antidote
        October 24, 2011, 8:41 am


        “the first rule he announced was that any existing laws that contravene sharia laws, especially on matters of marriage are void”

        I think there’s some good thinking behind some central sharia laws on ‘marriage’. No doubt it will greatly upset some powerful people in the West who will focus on the oppression of women (and gays) instead. From 2009:

        “The response of Muslim scholars to the global financial crisis so far is that this is what happens when you do not legally ‘marry’ nominal transaction with real transactions. The legal marriage would require the elimination of riba (usury or interest) from the system, replacing it with an arrangement where profits and losses are shared equitably. This would also require blocking other routes which might potentially threaten the marriage, and, for example,allow people to “sell only what they actually own”. One of the many implications is that this prohibits the securitization of mortgages which is one of the major factors blamed for the current financial crisis.”

  8. seafoid
    October 23, 2011, 5:11 pm

    The Jews who live in Hebron are insane.
    I can’t see the point of them following any mitzvot myself.
    I’m sure HaShem looks at them from the holistic point of view and has them pencilled in for reincarnation as Dalit women in India.

  9. eGuard
    October 23, 2011, 5:31 pm

    ot. Oh, and since his quotes take no space even in vacuum, here is … tadaam … Tony Blair:

    “It is a great thing that people are wanting democracy, but in the short term there is reduced stability in the region so that can pose problems for Israel and the peace process,” said Blair. “Because of the instability and uncertainty in the region, it’s right that we grip the peace process and put it back on track again.” in Haaretz.

    My next browser should be connectable to a vacuum cleaner. With this single one, I could do my house.

  10. Talkback
    October 23, 2011, 6:43 pm

    “I am the law. I am God”

    Last time I compared lines like these with german fascist rhetorics, my comment wasn’t published.

    • Antidote
      October 24, 2011, 10:56 pm

      Yawn. Like their are no other parallels and precedents.

      Who said: “I am the law in Indiana”?

      And what did Stephenson stand for?

      Apart from the revival of the Klan (is it dead now?), Madison Grant’s ” The Passing of the Great Race” (1916), dealt with racial hygiene, the racial history of Europe and the supremacy of the Nordic Race. His theories were taught at the Ivy League, and he received a fan letter from Hitler who declared Grant’s book his ‘Bible’. American Renaissance, German Renaissance, it’s all the same idea.

      Do you think the American Revolution has nothing to do with the fear that the British might abolish slavery in the American colonies after a landmark trial in 1772? How did we get from black servants working and living with white servants to black slaves in the 17th c if not to for the purpose to merge the white classes, upper and lower, into one homogenous, patriotic mass of Americans set apart from the other? That’s how you build national identity which the Germans/Austrians (Greater Germany) did not really have until the Nazi period. For the same reason, the new Hebrews in Palestine needed the Arab as other to become a nation.

      And while I’m at it, how did Lincoln ever acquire the reputation of the ‘great emancipator’? Was he not a racist when he ruled out all free mingling of the black and white race? Mixed marriages? If he believed that blacks could or should be the social equals of whites, why was his preferred solution to abolition either repatriation (to Africa) or colonization (black reservations on US territory). And what other country but the US needed a war, a long and bloody civil war, to abolish slavery? Not one.

      I find it truly bizarre how many here can only think of ‘German fascist rhetorics’ when they hear “I am the law. I am God”. Or that ‘American values’ such as those fought for during the Civil War should now be imposed on Israel? WTF are American values, other than whitewashed mystifications of history? The Israelis are pretty good at that, too

      The Civil War did not abolish slavery, it extended it to all Americans

  11. Hostage
    October 23, 2011, 6:46 pm

    Israeli officer declares: ‘I am the law, I am God.’

    But not, of course, for the purposes of the law of return. . . .;-)

  12. mig
    October 23, 2011, 6:49 pm

    “Rafi Dagan, an Israeli commanding officer, stated “I am the law. I am God”

    ++++ Israeli officer has been promoted to the Heavenly class i see….

    Biblical miracles are following soon i guess.

    • Hostage
      October 23, 2011, 8:47 pm

      ++++ Israeli officer has been promoted to the Heavenly class i see….

      No, but the fact that a modern-day low-level IDF flunky is running around impersonating God might have an ancient parallel. That would go a long way toward explaining all of those ancient accounts about the necessity of slaughtering gentile men, women, children, and their cattle.

    • Chaos4700
      October 23, 2011, 9:29 pm

      Yeah, like floods, rain of frogs, blights…

      Whom God destroys, as it were.

  13. dumvitaestspesest
    October 23, 2011, 8:23 pm

    “I’m the Law. I’m God”.
    Well, wellm the Israeli officer is reading Ovidius:
    “Sunt superis sua jura.” “The Gods have their own laws.”
    Ovid—Metamorphoses. IX. 499.

    I know that Israeli claim that they are: ” God’s Chosen People”.
    I think, I must have slept through the time , when THEY were officially declared to be also “Gods”.

  14. radii
    October 23, 2011, 9:38 pm

    “I am the law. I am God”

    when delusion overtakes a society because they have an inflated sense of pride, vastly puffed-up sense of self-importance and have been enabled by a powerful partner (the U.S.) … how can the outcome be good?

    pride goeth before the fall

  15. dumvitaestspesest
    October 23, 2011, 10:10 pm

    Nice song about the olive tree and the settlers , sang by” folk singer Leon Rosselson. Born Jewish, his songs of protest have travelled worldwide and have been sung by many great singers.”

    And here absolutely great song ,sang by an adorable ,little girl.
    Both are just beautiful.

  16. POA
    October 23, 2011, 11:05 pm

    Pretty standard mindset for a man standing on the frontlines for a fascist/racist state.

  17. James
    October 24, 2011, 12:08 am

    why is it the zionista’s never comment on threads like these? are they so numb to the conflict and war they nurture by ignoring these activities in not addressing them directly in israel, or to their friends and family in israel?

    what does this say about judaism? is israel the world rep for jewishness? have they been allowed to abscond much of what jewishness is supposed to represent and are giving us examples like this story to show how superior the religion is? i don’t get it…

    • annie
      October 24, 2011, 1:16 am

      it is not that complicated james. the ‘zionistas’ have an agenda. just read the hasbara handbook. (google ‘Hasbara Handbook: Defending Israel on Campus’ i don’t know how link to pdf). they have a chapter beginning on page 31 titled “Just walk away: When not to engage”.

      also note the very first section beginning on pg 3 (1 and 2 are empty). read it and also pg 4 (it doesn’t allow copy paste unfortunately or i would copy it for you). it says there are 2 approached neutralising negativity and pushing positivity (sound familiar? that’s our RW) note the end of this segment , ‘setting the agenda’

      iow, it doesn’t serve their mission, it is inexcusable so they’re staying away.

      what does this say about judaism?

      i don’t know that this reflects judaism. think colonialism, it is a much easier context to navigate.

      have they been allowed to abscond much of what jewishness is supposed to represent and are giving us examples like this story to show how superior the religion is? i don’t get it…

      you’re putting more into this than need be. just put it thru a filter of what does and does not help israel and it becomes quite clear. if there is no useful counter narrative they either shut up or run wild and their jewishness doesn’t seem to have a hecka lot to do w/it. think of them as operatives getting the job done and if defending this doesn’t serve their agenda they won’t even try.

      • Chaos4700
        October 24, 2011, 1:28 am

        i don’t know that this reflects judaism. think colonialism, it is a much easier context to navigate.

        That would make sense if there were no AIPAC and Jews who stand against Israel weren’t universally marginalized by American Jewish culture. The problem, annie, is that there is virtually no distance between contemporary Judaism and last century’s colonialism, anymore.

      • annie
        October 24, 2011, 1:46 am

        there is virtually no distance between contemporary Judaism and last century’s colonialism

        that’s crazy chaos, don’t buy the ‘judaism equals zionism’ thing. there are lots of practicing non zionist jews. there are many jews who practice their religion and are not down w/colonialism. remember rae abileah’s sign when she interrupted netanyahu? i happen to know she takes her judaism seriously (her version of it). she prays. don’t believe zionism or colonialism has highjacked the religion. the religious nationalist would like it to, they would like every jew to believe zionism is bonded to them and to judaism, it isn’t.

        i don’t know that this reflects judaism. think colonialism, it is a much easier context to navigate.

        That would make sense if there were no AIPAC and Jews who stand against Israel weren’t universally marginalized by American Jewish culture.

        there are lots of active jewish aipac supporters who are completely secular. so this is obviously not about judaism for them. nobody owns ‘American Jewish culture’ . phil and adam and medea and rae and matthew and naomi and rachel and phyllis and judith and norm and noam and max and hostage and mooser and all the other jewish participants in our conversation etc etc..they are all a part of ‘american jewish culture’. how do you expect their voices to be heard when you reference american jewish culture as if they are not part of it? because they are.

        do not let aipac, elliot abrams&wife and jeffery goldberg and the dersh define american jewish culture. just don’t. it’s like fingernails on chalkboard. let the others rise to their rightful space within their own culture on campuses across the country etc etc. don’t buy into it. where leaders emerge people will follow.

      • MRW
        October 24, 2011, 8:43 am

        Annie, you link to a PDF by opening it in Safari, then pressing Command-L to select the PDF address, and then Command-C to copy it. Use Command-V to copy the link to wherever you want.

      • DBG
        October 24, 2011, 9:14 am

        The problem, annie, is that there is virtually no distance between contemporary Judaism and last century’s colonialism, anymore.

        That sounds about as dumb as the morons who say there is virtually no distance between modern Islam and terrorism. Is that the camp you want to be in Chaos? someone who stereotypes entire groups?

      • Chaos4700
        October 24, 2011, 9:29 pm

        Normally I’m fine with taking out the trash, but I refuse to engage you until you actually read the article. Instead of watching my comments listing like a hawk and just trolling wherever I make a comment. Which, incidentally, is pathetic, find yourself a councilor, they can help you find a life.

      • annie
        October 24, 2011, 10:03 pm

        thanks, my problem was i was on foxfire which disappears the url or something. next time i want to copy a pdf i will go to safari.

      • Hostage
        October 24, 2011, 2:16 am

        (google ‘Hasbara Handbook: Defending Israel on Campus’ i don’t know how link to pdf).

        Approaches to Israel Advocacy
        There are two main approaches to Israel advocacy that allow Jewish students to achieve the aims outlined above. These approaches apply to everything Israel activists are trying to achieve in their advocacy for Israel. These approaches can be called “neutralising negativity” and “pushing positivity”.
        Neutralising negativity is about attempting to counter harmful impressions and accusations. This is the side of hasbara that is concerned with the defence of Israel.
        “Israel is not bad because….”
        “This action was justified because…”
        This often involves arguing over sequences of events, attempting to reframe debates to focus on different issues [hijack that comment thread], and placing events in a wider context, so that the difficulty of Israel’s situation is understood in a more positive light.
        For more on this point see Communication Styles: Point Scoring and Genuine Debate – p. 8!

        Point Scoring
        Point scoring is a method of communication that prioritises making certain points favourable to the speaker, and attacking opponents of the speaker by trying to undermine their positions. Point scoring communication ought to give the appearance of rational debate, whilst avoiding genuine discussion. The aim of the Israel activist point scorer is to try to make as many comments that are positive about Israel as possible, whilst attacking certain Palestinian positions, and attempting to cultivate a dignified appearance.
        Point scoring works because most audience members fail to analyse what they hear. Rather, they register only a key few points, and form a vague impression of whose ‘argument’ was stronger.
        When to Point Score
        Point scoring is the correct method of communication to use when the audience is likely to be only partially engaged. Talk radio, student newspapers, large panel discussions, and anything to do with television or the Internet should probably be viewed as having partially engaged audiences, and so point scoring is the right way to communicate in these forums.
        Point scoring can irritate audiences who are genuinely committed to thinking seriously about their views on a subject. When talking in serious academic circles [don’t try to bullshit an expert], or talking to friends, or answering questions addressed personally by genuinely interested individuals, it is preferable to refrain from point scoring, which can seem shallow, and to instead more fully engage using rational argument.

        How To Score Points Whilst Avoiding Debate
        Central to point scoring is the ability to disguise point scoring by giving the impression of genuine debate. Audience members can be alienated by undisguised attacks, so all point scoring needs to be disguised.
        To disguise point scoring, comments need to seem to be logical, and to follow from what was said before. Use phrases that subtly change the agenda or reframe the debate to do this:
        “Well, that’s not really the right question…”
        “I don’t think we should be focusing on …, the real point is that…”
        “That’s an interesting point, but I don’t think we can really begin to address it before we think about…”
        “You seem to assume that …, an assumption that’s impossible to share. Really, we need to consider…”
        “It’s a shame that the Palestinian leadership have led the Palestinian people down a dead-end, where conflict and violence leads to tragic situations. Things would have been better if…”
        “I really think that we would all be better served by looking forward instead of back at the things that happened over 50 years ago. The past is important to note, but we have to move on in an attempt for peace. That’s why I think we would be better served talking about…”
        The examples above ‘field’ the comments that precede them by giving the appearance of addressing what was said. They then go on to reframe the discussion by setting a new agenda.
        What Points To Make
        Point scoring needs to be focused. Because the people listening to ‘point scoring’ are only paying partial attention, only two or three points have a chance of ‘sticking’. For this reason, focus point scoring on a few points supporting Israel, and a few points pointing out weaknesses in Palestinian positions. These points should be made again and again, in as many forums as possible. If people hear something often enough they come to believe it. Attempts to make too many different points will result in the audience remembering nothing.
        Points Supporting Israel
        Israel wants peace, and is willing to make far-reaching concessions in order to achieve this.
        At Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinians more than any observer had ever thought possible, and their generous offers were turned down.

      • Talkback
        October 24, 2011, 8:32 am

        PDF can be found here:

        Document is called:
        Hasbara Handbook (WUJS)

      • James
        October 24, 2011, 9:19 pm

        hi annie – thanks for your response and the other folks response to my query… separating israel from those who are jewish, to those who practice judiasm is an interesting question for me… i agree i am complicating things, but so is modern day israel and many jewish folks with their work at making an association of all of this being one and the same.. they are not the same.. the efforts on the part of israel to suggest it represents the jewish people motivates me to ask the question on what part of the role judiasm plays in this.. the actions going on in israel are very conflicted with any type of religion no matter what religion it professes to be as i see it, but perhaps someone who practices judiasm can explain to me how these actions represent judiasm.. i would say the same thing for the crusades which supposedly represented christianity.. i think of the parallel that you make to colonialism is a good one to make… i’ll stop here for now..

      • Hostage
        October 24, 2011, 10:05 pm

        but perhaps someone who practices judiasm can explain to me how these actions represent judiasm.

        LOL! Are you sure that Judaism is based upon personal practice, personal observance, or personal religious beliefs? Guess again. There is a mystical rite of initiation that matters more in the long run: Campaign: If Children Are Not Jewish – Tell Them

        An atheist may be a bad Jew, but he or she will still get credit for being Jewish, while an “observant” person may not. Go argue.

      • James
        October 25, 2011, 12:13 am

        one can be jewish and not be a part of the Judaic religion.. here i thought in order to be jewish one had to practice or be in some way associated with judiasm! okay, it is all passed down from the mother and being jewish has nothing to do with religion! this makes more sense actually as i see nothing religious in the actions of israel which is supposed to be both jewish and practicing the religion of judiasm.. i continue to think that zionism is the religion of these fanatics.. how else to explain their self justified hostilities to others not ””jewish””?

        there is some material here for someone to have fun with, but for the palestinians it is no laughing matter… they are being abused regularly by those in and around israel who are supposed to be jewish, but may not belong to any religion.. i say this based on their actions…

      • Hostage
        October 25, 2011, 3:17 am

        here i thought in order to be jewish one had to practice or be in some way associated with judiasm!

        No. The majority of Jews in Israel self-identify as secular, not religious. See for example: Study: 51% of Israelis secular,7340,L-3514242,00.html

        okay, it is all passed down from the mother and being jewish has nothing to do with religion!

        The secular, traditional, orthodox, or ultra-orthodox Jews have divergent views on that and many other subjects. The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) Democracy Index for 2011 covers their political views in great detail.

        i continue to think that zionism is the religion of these fanatics.. how else to explain their self justified hostilities to others not ””jewish””?

        Secular Zionism is a significant contributing factor, but there has been a struggle between Jewish particularist vs. universalist religious schools of thought for thousands of years, e.g. Hillel vs Shammai.

    • Hostage
      October 24, 2011, 1:52 am

      what does this say about judaism?

      Technically speaking, if the leader of this group of Israelis is a man who claims to be God, then he and his followers have all converted to some other religion. Richard Silverstein commented:

      I want my religion back. I am Jewish, not them. Let us stop calling them Jews and call them Judeans instead.

      Works for me.

      • annie
        October 24, 2011, 1:55 am

        works for me too and i’m not even jewish. i refuse to believe these fruitcakes settlers and their ilk and the idf who support and defend their massive infringements on human rights stand for judaism. that’s nuts.

      • Avi_G.
        October 24, 2011, 3:14 am

        Silverstein wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

        On the one hand he wants to be able to identify as Jewish and on the other hand he wants to be able to disown tribe members as non-Jews simply because they’re giving him a bad name.

        It doesn’t work that way.

        So long as he identifies himself as Jewish and they identify as Jewish, the only thing Silverstein can do is criticize and condemn their actions.

        Besides, what, pray tell, would Silverstein call someone like Tzipi Livni? Would he call her Judean, too?

        Or does he plan on handing out Judaism cards that display the extent to which each Jewish person adheres to the basic principles of Judaism? I guess Marzel would get a “J” and Silverstein would get a full “Jew”. Is that it?

        Worse still, the collection of what Silverstein calls “Jewish values” could very well be incomplete as far as Marzel is concerned. After all, Joshua and Deuteronomy can be used by any Jew to claim that “Jewish values” include ethnic cleansing.

        Nonetheless, I understand where Silverstein is coming from with that statement. But, it’s neither practical nor intellectually honest.

      • American
        October 24, 2011, 3:34 am

        I don’t know a lot about Juadism, but I imagine like other religions it has it’s share of cults within it. You can call christian zios christians but they’re really a “cult” with mainstream christianity.

      • Hostage
        October 24, 2011, 3:57 am

        Silverstein wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

        I heard that same complaint about Phil recently here is a link to my response, e.g.

        Joshua and Deuteronomy can be used by any Jew to claim that “Jewish values” include ethnic cleansing.

        I’m secular in outlook and upbringing, so it’s irrelevant to me. I would guess Jack Ross could provide a better defense than I can of the role of religion in Jewish identity or on Jewish values. Most American Jews come from the Reform tradition. They confronted and overcame the problems of bigoted biblical doctrines in the era of the Pittsburgh Platform, of 1885 (but Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer):
        *We accept as binding only the moral laws and maintain only such ceremonies as elevate and sanctify our lives, but reject all such as are not adapted to the views and habits of modern civilization.
        *We hold that all such Mosaic and rabbinical laws as regulate diet, priestly purity and dress originated in ages and under the influence of ideas altogether foreign to our present mental and spiritual state. They fail to impress the modern Jew with a spirit of priestly holiness; their observance in our days is apt rather to obstruct than to further spiritual elevation.
        *We recognize, in the modern era of universal culture of heart and intellect, the approaching of the realization of Israel’s great messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace among all men. We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.
        *We recognize in Judaism a progressive religion, ever striving to be in accord with the postulates of reason.

        They would have been better off if they had stuck to their guns on the issues of non-nationhood; no expectation of a return to Palestine; and no restoration of laws regarding the Jewish state.

      • Shmuel
        October 24, 2011, 4:34 am

        Silverstein’s argument is problematic. If you can say that the essence of Judaism is sugar and spice, you can also say that the essence of Judaism is frogs and snails (no offence to the little critters).

        I respect Silverstein’s brand of Judaism (and the Judaism of the Pittsburgh Platform), but it is no more “authentic” than any of the other 57 varieties – some of them quite repulsive.

      • Richard Witty
        October 24, 2011, 5:32 am

        Richard’s argument is sound.

        I have a close friend, a chabad rabbi, who describes “all political ideologies are part of Torah”.

        We talk about free market, “that is in Torah”, about monarchism/fascism, “that is in Torah”, cooperativism, “that is in Torah”, communism even in the non-nationalist sense, “that is in Torah”.

        The quote of Hostage of “we give up the idea of nation” is anathema to Judaism though. Judaism is an associational religion, and the moral components (LARGE in all Jewish thought that claims to be complete and not selective) are the for the purpose of the Jewish nation being a good one. (Good internally, and good in relation to other individuals and communities.)

        There is ideological drift from some “starting point” to an intra-community focus (in traditional modes) and inter-community focus (in prophetic tikkunish modes).

        Ultimately, it is a liberal approach, of LIVE and let live (LIVE being most important, but let live being very important.)

        The new messianic iteration is stimulated by Zionism. “What are we asked to do now?” that A return is in process seemingly in conformity with prophecy.

        There are two very divergent approaches.

        One is that “we are to be heroic like Joshua and young David” and take back what has been promised to us. (hilltop youth).

        Another is “how do we bring the prophetic messianic times (not the “rapture”)?” We do so much good to our neighbors that when the messianic times come, we can’t tell the difference between pre-messianic community and post-messianic.

        In the orthodox community that I see, both themes play out. They don’t yet war with each other, and different individuals studying even under the same teachers, find themselves holding both views, and are intellectually accepted by their teachers as originating in Torah.

        There is though no movement for fundamental assimilation.

      • Shmuel
        October 24, 2011, 6:21 am

        The quote of Hostage of “we give up the idea of nation” is anathema to Judaism though.

        Nonsense. Judaism is an evolving civilisation (or collection of civilisations) that has adopted, changed and discarded ideas from its very inception. Nationhood (interpreted in various ways throughout the ages – not necessarily congruent with modern conceptions) is just one of those ideas. The Pittsburgh Platform, and its German-Reform ideological basis were no more anathema to Judaism than neo-Orthodoxy or Zionism, although both incorporated values that stood in contradiction to other, historical Jewish values.

        Silverstein’s attempt to define his Judaism as authentic, while assigning another name to Judaisms he doesn’t like, reminds me of the frequent complaint of Orthodox Jews that “Jewish” Reform is in fact another religion that has no right to call itself “Judaism”.

      • seafoid
        October 24, 2011, 6:43 am

        Thanks for that, Hostage. It is no wonder Reform = Goy in Israel

      • Richard Witty
        October 24, 2011, 7:05 am

        The root and application of Judaism is dual, and will remain so.

        The intra-community orientation is essential to its credo.

        To the extent that it is oriented to justice and political forms of morality, its of a body. “How will WE act and be?”

        Its not equivalent to universalism, though it contains the reminder of universal intimacy with “Creator/Imminent”.

        To propose so, is to revise it fundamentally.

        A Jewish individual can adopt universalism and be consistent with Jewish thought, but the idea of Jewish people is there and permanently.

      • richb
        October 24, 2011, 10:57 am

        The new messianic iteration is stimulated by Zionism. “What are we asked to do now?” that A return is in process seemingly in conformity with prophecy.

        Actually Zionism is in contradistinction to the prophets because the promise of a nation is conditioned on obedience and justice. Here’s what happens when the Jewish nation abandons justice like it is doing right now.

        Micah 3
        1 Then I said,

        Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
        you rulers of Israel.
        Should you not embrace justice,

        2 you who hate good and love evil;
        who tear the skin from my people
        and the flesh from their bones;
        3 who eat my people’s flesh,
        strip off their skin
        and break their bones in pieces;
        who chop them up like meat for the pan,
        like flesh for the pot?”

        4 Then they will cry out to the LORD,
        but he will not answer them.
        At that time he will hide his face from them
        because of the evil they have done.

        5 This is what the LORD says:

        “As for the prophets
        who lead my people astray,
        they proclaim ‘peace’
        if they have something to eat,
        but prepare to wage war against anyone
        who refuses to feed them.
        6 Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
        and darkness, without divination.
        The sun will set for the prophets,
        and the day will go dark for them.
        7 The seers will be ashamed
        and the diviners disgraced.
        They will all cover their faces
        because there is no answer from God.”
        8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
        with the Spirit of the LORD,
        and with justice and might,
        to declare to Jacob his transgression,
        to Israel his sin.

        9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob,
        you rulers of Israel,
        who despise justice
        and distort all that is right;
        10 who build Zion with bloodshed,
        and Jerusalem with wickedness.

        11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
        her priests teach for a price,
        and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
        Yet they look for the LORD’s support and say,
        “Is not the LORD among us?
        No disaster will come upon us.”
        12 Therefore because of you,
        Zion will be plowed like a field,
        Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
        the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

      • Richard Witty
        October 24, 2011, 11:17 am

        That is certainly one interpretation.

        Some postulate that the Zionism deters the messianic era, others regard Zionism as a fulfillment itself, earned or unearned.

        It is undeniable that Zionism exists, that Israel exists. Those that engage in the question at all start from “what do we do now?” “What are we asked of, in the present?”

      • Mooser
        October 24, 2011, 11:23 am

        “I have a close friend, a chabad rabbi…”

        Just a hint, Richard, old son: If you want to prove a point, don’t start out by invalidating your informant’s intelligence and objectivity from two perspectives.

      • Mooser
        October 24, 2011, 11:28 am

        “I heard that same complaint about Phil recently…”

        What kind of ill-tempered, misinformed and malevolent idiot would say that about Phil? Just point me at him, that’s all I ask, just point me in his direction!

      • Mooser
        October 24, 2011, 11:33 am

        “It is undeniable that Zionism exists, that Israel exists.”

        Yes, but is that good for the Jews, or bad for the Jews?

        Richard, have I mentioned before that your stupidity (to mention only one of your more salient qualities) is breathtaking?

      • Hostage
        October 24, 2011, 12:21 pm

        What kind of ill-tempered, misinformed and malevolent idiot would say that about Phil? Just point me at him, that’s all I ask, just point me in his direction!


      • Hostage
        October 24, 2011, 1:07 pm

        Thanks for that, Hostage. It is no wonder Reform = Goy in Israel

        Identities are self-constructed. I’m very comfortable identifying myself as secular and “Jew-ish”. Tony Judt once said:

        American Jews — most of whom know nothing of Jewish history, Jewish languages or Jewish religion — feel “Jewish” by identifying unthinkingly with Auschwitz as the source of their special victim status and “Israel” as their insurance policy and macho other. I find this contemptible — they are quite happy to see Arabs killed in their name, so long as other Jews do it. That’s not fear, that is something between surrogate nationalism and moral indifference.

        I confess that I share many of the same interests and views as Elmer Berger, Henry Siegman, Alfred Lilienthal, or Tony Judt – and that one of the things we all share is Jewish identity. It is not a common religious belief, ethnicity, or nationality.

      • Mooser
        October 24, 2011, 1:08 pm

        And after I take care of him, can I have some of this cake you ate?

      • richb
        October 24, 2011, 1:10 pm

        Doesn’t this:

        Some postulate that the Zionism deters the messianic era, others regard Zionism as a fulfillment itself, earned or unearned.

        Contradict this?
        There is though no movement for fundamental assimilation.

        Namely, it is those Jews who believe that Zionism deters the messianic era are one and the same with those who argue for assimilation. (By assimilation I mean here applying Jewish values to the pluralistic society in which they live.) So in one statement you argue that something exists and in the other you argue that it doesn’t.

      • annie
        October 24, 2011, 1:26 pm

        Richard Witty October 24, 2011 at 5:32 am

        Richard’s argument is sound.

        lol, can illeism help you out here?

      • Richard Witty
        October 24, 2011, 10:33 pm

        Hard to know what you are sniping at again Annie.

        It was a comment supporting Richard S’s declaring that he resents letting the hilltop youth authoritatively define what Judaism is.

        RichB can’t hold it in his head that Judaism is multiple seemingly contradictory things.

        The thinking is NOT one OR the other. Its not constructed by a credo.

        The element of Judaism that is new, is NOT Zionism. Zionism always existed within Judaism. The concept of people-hood always existed within Judaism.

        The relevance of a people on a land is a revival, a return, new in the modern period.

        And, the assertion that Judaism is ONLY its principles, and not also its body (people/nation), is new.

      • Richard Witty
        October 24, 2011, 10:35 pm

        You have the ability to avoid offensiveness if you choose.

        That is your new theme for the day, with a repetitive audience even?

  18. ToivoS
    October 24, 2011, 1:10 am

    I don’t understand the problem here.

    “I am law, I am God”

    Isn’t that what the Israelis have claimed since 1948. What else is new?

    • dumvitaestspesest
      October 24, 2011, 11:11 am

      I guess, he meant ” god”, who rules Underworld, where the temperatures are rather too high for an average person to bear, and “the laws” generally don’t favour human beings.

  19. Elliot
    October 24, 2011, 8:36 am

    The commanding officer’s reprehensible statement comes straight out of the lexicon of boot camp. It is in the (Israeli?) military culture that in the first meeting between conscripts and their platoon commander, this lowliest of junior officers announces to the new kids that he is unto them as a “God”. He then drives the point home by demonstrating his divine wrath and power over them.
    This context in no way detracts from the racism, arrogance, lawlessness and gross indecency of this officer’s conduct.

  20. justsayin
    October 24, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Interpol had issued arrest warrants in the Dubai case, is not this one of those very people. What do these people hope to accomplish by being hated around the world by everyone they see and meet puzzles me. I hope they have an escape to another planet planned out…cause there is no place on this planet for the rougue state called israel to hide its murderous thugs whom obvious do not realize the consequences for their families and themselves through out the future, they will be prime candidate for sending into deep outer space….WAIT. We can not polute the universe with such scum.

  21. Kate
    October 24, 2011, 2:49 pm

    As far as the settlers are concerned, I rather like this from Micah 2:

    Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil upon their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand.

    They covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.

    Therefore thus says the Lord: Behold, against this family I am devising evil, from which you cannot remove your necks, and you shall not walk haughtily, for it will be an evil time.

    In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you, and wail with bitter lamentation, and say. “We are utterly ruined; he changes the portion of my people; how he removes it from me! Among the rebellious he divides our fields.”

  22. kalithea
    October 24, 2011, 2:51 pm

    All this talk about the good Jew and the bad Jew and injecting Judaism into this is a CANARD for avoiding the truth. This has nothing to do with Judaism and everything to do with the effect of Zionism on Judaism. Don’t you know that Democracy and Judaism interfere with the goal of Zionism?

    Why waste time waxing philosophical or hashing out enigmas and debating for the sake of argument only, when the truth is staring everyone in the face, when the elephant in the room is being ignored. ZIONISM is at the root of this evil!!! What else is there to say???

    It makes me laugh how Witty plays everyone on this issue and Silverstein opened the door that Witty walked through to string you along on on this philosphical digression.

    Witty states: “It is undeniable that Zionism exists, that Israel exists. Those that engage in the question at all start from “what do we do now?” “What are we asked of, in the present?””

    What lies in between his patronizing concern is: too bad, we hit the wall, the damage is done, what do you want us to do about it, there’s nothing we can do except wash our hands and forget that the means was necessary and is necessary to justify the end. This is what he’s really implying here! Those questions he asked lead nowhere, they too are a diversion, because day in and day out he’s here justifying Zionism and the means with the end! The “good Jew; bad Jew” discussion is A COVER for furthering Zionism–if things went horribly wrong — blame it on the bad Jew, not the rest of us “good” Zionists…errr, I mean Jews, when in fact the Zionist project was rotten at the core to begin with!

    But in reality, Israel exists, Zionism exists AT THE EXPENSE OF HUMANITY…oh and yes, welcome to the real world…AT THE EXPENSE OF JUDAISM TOO!! But keep your head well planted in the sand!

    Every single Zionist of every stripe gave that IDF commander the license to declare himself the law that punishes and subjugates Palestinians and Zionists everywhere give him the license to declare himself God, because denying that Zionism is the new Judaism doesn’t make the truth less real; it merely tries to cover it up.

    Lemee tell you something: that commander spoke the TRUTH. Zionism IS the new Judaism. And for all the good Zionists out there: this is what you get when you try to have your cake and eat it too!! The middle ground doesn’t exist here — the easy road doesn’t exist here. You’re either a bad Jew or a good Jew who REJECTS ZIONISM- period!

    There is no such animal as a “good” Zionist.

    • James
      October 24, 2011, 9:27 pm

      kalithea quote “Zionism IS the new Judaism.”

      powerful concept… i think the folks that believe zionism to be valid viewpoint and necessary, do view zionism in a similar manner to a religion… i think they probably have replaced judiasm with zionism, as i can’t believe that judiasm would condone ethnic cleansing or a slow form of ethnic cleansing as in any way religious…. however, zionism seems perfectly alright with this… the other option is that one has to choose between which god they are going to follow – one that represented zionism, or the one that represented judiasm… i don’t think one can serve both at the same time..

  23. piotr
    October 25, 2011, 9:41 am

    Today I read a story about a smuggling gang in Kosovo, and one witness was reporting how a gang member closed a road toward Serbian border for non-gang members by exclaiming “I am God, you will not drive there”. Perhaps it is a widely used expression in Eastern part of Mediterranean region, if not even wider.

    On the other hand, the quoted gangster was Christian. Shouldn’t a Jew proclaim “I am G..d”? Even then, it does not sound pius to me. Somewhat lesser blasphemy was committed by Rachel Abrams who not only did not elide the vowel in God, but also claimed an insight to the divine plan why predator fish like stargazers were created. (She also urged to slaughter folks that IDF already claimed to have killed which is another kind of impiety, doubting proclamations of IDF. I would urge to excommunicate her from proper pro-Israeli organizations on that basis.)

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